Friday, 1 January 2016


Many years ago before my little blog was born I visited The Real Greek in London and really enjoyed it. Last month during a visit to the capital we realized we were close to another branch and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to revisit them too see if the experience was as enjoyable as I remember! This time around we popped into The Real Greek in Southwalk. Situated on the Bankside next to the Shakespeare Globe Theatre, we arrived for a late lunch and the area was booming with tourists and people from the nearby workplaces enjoying a late lunch.
This is London so I don't think you can really expect a quiet period anytime of the day but upon entering and enquiring if there was a table, the friendly host told us that "there is always a table here". Utterly charming and welcoming, the team at The Real Greek couldn't be anymore accommodating. We were sat next to the windows that line the front of the building and offer a delightful view of the river.  It was a gloomy winter day when we came but the sights of landmarks such as St Paul's cathedral could still be admired from afar. I imagine in the summer you could spend all day admiring the boats as they trundle up and down the Thames as you dine from your riverside seat. The Al fresco area flanking the entrance would be a great place to spend a warm leisurely afternoon.

Now one of the other main reasons that attracted us back to The Real Greek was the fantastic lunch offer that was available at the time and we were thrilled to see this was still on the menu. You pick a selection of mezze style dishes served on a three tiered stand very much like a Mediterranean savory afternoon tea all for £8.95 per person. For London this is an absolute bargain. My tip if there is just the two of you is to pick different dishes so you can both share each others dishes and enjoy a wider selection of what's on offer. More mezze for your buck!

So to start your trio of treats you can pick two traditional Greek dips alongside either some flatbread or fingers of raw carrot and cucumber. Our first selection was a pot of hummus which was tasty and smooth. Well, it would be concerning if a Greek restaurant got hummus wrong wouldn't it. Alongside it was a tub of melitzanosalata, a fresh aubergine, garlic and herb affair which was one of the favorites of the day that I'd love to try making at home. Refreshingly yummy and an absolute delight! The slightly herby flatbread triangles were light and fluffy and perfect for dipping into these yummy treats.

Alongside the crudites, which were big chunky slabs of raw carrot and cucumber was the obligatory tzatziki dip. I'm not a fan of tzatziki really but Jon really enjoys it and tucked right in saying it was spot on in terms of authenticity and without being too overtly creamy and rich. The star of all four dips we chose was the feta and red pepper Htipiti which I could of quite happily had a whole bowl full of and inhaled it no problem at all. The saltiness of the cheese and the sweetness from the red pepper really work together to create a flavor combination to die for. If you choose any of the dips on offer make sure this is your first choice!

The bottom of our three tiers of treats was reserved for the "side" dishes. The first one we chose were the new potatoes. It can be hard to get a new potato right especially if your whacking them out on mass but The Real Greeks little spuds had the balance just right between being little bullets and turning into mush. With just the right amount of butter melted over them to keep things moist and a little sprinkling of chopped herbs to add a light background hint of herbiness, they make for a great alternative over boring old chips! Chips are on the menu but with spuds like these you'd be mad not to give them a try!

The next side dish was the slaw. Now, I like my slaws so I was interested to see how this would go and when it arrived looking vibrant and pink it really did look yummy. I liked the addition of raisins into the mix, it gave the slaw an element of sweetness which was something I'd never thought of doing but I defiantly will the next time I make a batch. They also add an extra element of texture to the slaw against the crunch of the cabbage. I really enjoyed this and again, would of been happy with a big bowl of it with some warm crusty bread to scoop every last drop of that delicious dressing. 

Onto the mains now and we went with the veggie options starting with falafel. Three chunky falafel arrived at the table making a change from the tiny little versions you often see in restaurants. The crispy shell to each one crunched as you cut through them to reveal fluffy filling that was so hot that the steam could be seen visibly rising from them. Some falafel can be terribly dry and can be like chewing cardboard but The Real Greeks take on these classics had more of a resemblance to a potato cake that was moist and melted in your mouth as they danced across your taste buds especially when you dipped them into the mayo they arrive sitting upon.

Our final selection went to the grilled aubergine and halloumi stack. I've been eating halloumi out and about a lot recently and The Real Greeks version is equally as good as any of those dishes I've had over the last few weeks. Soft and without any hint of rubberiness too it, it made a fabulous filling to the two large slices of grilled aubergine "bread" in this meat free sandwich. Top it with a tomato based sauce packed with fresh herbs to give it a really intense and deep flavor and you have another excellent addition to your three tiers of  tantalizing treats. Its a close call but I'd say this was the best of the two main dishes.

With bellies full to the brim with was time to leave and continue our walk along the Bankside. It's a true testament to the quality and consistency of a restaurant if you can visit two separate branches, two years apart and enjoy two equally enjoyable and affordable lunches. I hope it won't be two years until I visit them and enjoy their marvelous mezze dishes again.  The Real Greek is the real deal!

To find out more about The Real Greeks fabulous menu or to book a table at your nearest branch pop on over to their website and go check them out!

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